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HEALTH ADVICE

Healthy Digestion Reduces Stress

John Gray


As in the body, so in the mind...as in the mind, so in the body. 

You know your physical health is directly impacted by what you eat. So it makes sense that your mental health is also affected by what you eat. And it makes even more sense that your relationship is directly impacted by your mental health (or your partner's mental health). This is really why I share health advice with you. If your mind is not healthy, then your relationships are probably not healthy either. 

I am not alone in this thinking. An international group of scientists and ALL members of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research have also argued that diet is "as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology." These same researchers also pointed out a number of studies that revealed the vital role of omega-3s, Vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc, iron and magnesium in brain health. Our modern diets are lacking many of these important nutrients, which may be contributing to the rise in mental health conditions.

Your body is made up of many different systems. Your mental health, cardiovascular health, digestive health, hormones, blood, bones, skin and hair work closely together to maintain optimal health. When one system is off balance, it can affect another, which affects another and so on, until you begin to experience more chronic health complications.

Your digestive system is particularly responsible for your overall health and wellness. 
When your digestive system is not functioning properly, it can result in poor nutrient absorption and lead to a number of chronic problems and symptoms, including acid reflux, indigestion, irritable bowel disease and others. Digestion problems have also been shown to increase the chances of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint pain, and blood sugar problems.

What few people realize is how critical your digestive system is for your mental health. Some studies show that up to 9 out of 10 people with an autism spectrum disorder also have an illness that directly related to the gut. More than a third of people with depression have "leaky gut" syndrome as well. 
And while I am at it, other conditions that have been linked to the microbiome include anxiety, schizophrenia, Crohn's, Rheumatoid Arthritis even cancer.

Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract relies on specialized immune cells, a complex network of neurological and hormonal components and bacteria. Yes, bacteria. In fact, your body is composed of 10 times more bacteria than human cells. And researchers have now discovered how bacteria do so much more for our state of being than we previously believed.


The Brain-Gut Connection

Many neuroscientists (and one relationship author) have long thought that mental health conditions like anxiety and depression were directly linked to your digestive system and specifically the bacteria in your gut, sometimes called the microbiome. The microbiome is a collection of trillions of bacteria and other microbes.

Recent research from
neurobiologists at Oxford University has proven it. They discovered that people with health amounts of gut bacteria had less anxiety when confronted with negative stimuli. They also found that those same people had lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in their saliva when they woke up each morning.

In 2014, UCLA released a study that found that women, who regularly ate yogurt loaded with probiotics, showed improved brain function in both a resting state and when performing tasks. "Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut," Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, the study's lead author, said in a statement. "Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street."


Your gastrointestinal system is the most abundant source of regulatory neurotransmitters outside the brain. In fact, your gut is literally your second brain -- created from the identical tissue as your brain during gestation -- and contains larger amounts of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with mood control. When you have a weakened digestion, the toxins build up in your body, affecting your mood-altering neurotransmitters and attacking your immune system.

When you are stressed (mentally or physically), your "fight or flight" system gets activated. Your heart pounds, your hair stands on end, and adrenaline floods your body to give you extra strength and speed to fight off or avoid danger.

Unfortunately our bodies aren’t too sophisticated when it comes to facing off against stress. Our stress response doesn’t distinguish between mental and physical distress, so your physical reaction is largely the same whether you are being chased by a bear or late for a meeting with your boss.


When your body is under stress, it is the "friendly bacteria" in your gut that helps your immune system release inflammatory cytokines, to keep your immune system on high alert. This bacteria in your gut has also been shown to interact on a hormonal level to to turn on and off your adrenaline response. 

So if your digestive system is weakened, then you are more likely to have a weak immune system and experience hormonal imbalances and increased stress levels. Thus, your gut and digestive health could make the difference as to whether you are sick or well, both mentally and physically.


4 Common Signs of a Weak Digestive System


You feel extra tired after a meal
When your digestion is weak you can’t push food through your digestive tract effectively. Your body reacts by stealing energy from other parts of your body to get the food down. With less energy circulating throughout your body, you feel tired.

You get cold easily
When you don’t produce enough digestive enzymes or acid to break down food into small enough bits to absorb its nutrients, your body senses this lack of nutrients. It compensates by diverting circulation from less vital body parts (such as your hands and feet) to supply more crucial parts (like your brain and heart). With less circulation to your extremities, you get cold more easily.


You experience declining memory or “brain fog.
Weak digestion can lead to digestion-related food allergies—a leading cause of “brain fog.” In addition, your brain and your digestive system are intimately connected neurologically. And so when your digestion is weak, it affects your brain, clouding your mind. It may even eventually lead to dementia.

You are stressed out
It is also important to recognize how your digestive health is related to your stress level. When you are stressed, you body doesn't produce the right amount of enzymes to fully digest your food. When you aren't digesting your food properly, you aren't giving your body and your brain the adequate vitamins and minerals to reduce your stress. It's a bad loop to be in, but I can help.


What To Do

For improved digestion and food sensitivities, any or all of these supplements may help. To support brain function, digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates is essential. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may only need to apply a few of the suggestions below. 

1. Temporarily go off pasteurized milk products, soy, corn, bread and other gluten products, sugar and other simple carbohydrates, as well packaged foods with preservative and food coloring. Simply eat real foods like meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, salads, and fruit. As symptoms improve after weeks or several months, gradually reintroduce one food category at a time and wait a couple of days to see if symptoms return. After testing all food categories this way, wait a few months to test if you can reintroduce the food. You can also test for food allergies with a health professional but avoid over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

2. Include an abundance of fiber in your diet from fresh fruits, vegetables and whole, unprocessed grains. Avoid processed foods, processed meats and trans fats.

3. Make a special Super Cleanse Drink and take 20 minutes before each meal or meal replacement shake. Mix together the following ingredients:

• One teaspoon of Mars Venus Super Cleanse
• One teaspoon of Probiotics
• One scoop of Collagen Peptides
• One scoop of Acetyl-L-Carnitine
• One teaspoon of MCT Oil. Gradually increase MCT Oil to a maximum of one tablespoon. Decrease the amount if bloating or pain occurs due to candida die-off. Then gradually increase again.

4. Take 1-2 tablespoons of Bravo Probiotic Yogurt every morning. Probiotics provide live strains of friendly bacteria that are crucial for digestive, immune and neurological health.Drink plenty of filtered water and herbal teas to stay hydrated.

5. Take two capsules of
Digestive Enzymes 20 minutes before each meal or meal replacement shake.

6. Take one capsule of Aloe Vera Polymannose Complex before each meal or meal replacement shake to help the gut and strengthen cell membranes.

7. Drink plenty of filtered water and herbal teas throughout the day to stay hydrated. 

8. Take 2 capsules of Ginger Root with meals to help in digestion. 

9. Take zinc lozenges every other day. Zinc is an important nutrient for digestive health, which also plays critical roles in hormone regulation, immune health and neurological function

10. Avoid eating two to three hours before bedtime.



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The statements and products referred to throughout this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. They are the expressed opinion of John Gray for the sole purpose of educating the public regarding their health, happiness and improved quality of relationships. Individual results may vary. Seek the advice of a competent health care professional for your specific health concerns.

 

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